Nick Drake
Bryter Layter


4.5
superb

Review

by Stephen Horvath (Scuba_Steve) USER (5 Reviews)
July 1st, 2006 | 46 replies | 26,175 views


Release Date: 1970 | Tracklist


5 of 5 thought this review was well written

Nick Drake- Bryter Layter

Nick Drake was without a doubt an underestimated genius. Underestimated not by others, but by himself. He was a man of recluse and low self-confidence. He always thought he wasn’t talented musically, and it puzzles many how he could even think of himself as un-talented, nevermind actually believing it.

One would have no idea that he thought of himself like that after listening to Bryter Layter. This was probably his most orchestrated album, containing not only his soft-spoken voice, guitar and violin but also drumming, bass, piano and a brass instrument here and there (Such as the saxophone in 'At the Chime of a City Clock') even going so far to include a xylophone during the song 'Northern Sky'. He definitely went all out on this album and it really shows.

Even with the use of so many wonderfully arranged instruments, it still seems simplistic enough to be a nice calming listen, but while retaining enough depth so not to come off as boring or repetitive. But when it comes down to it, what do people end up listening to? That’s right, his sweet 'gentleman' tone of voice and his amazing finger picked guitar playing.

Songs like 'One of These Things First' are easily a prime example of this, when ever you listen to it, you’ll initially be in awe of the majestic piano but by the end your attention always wanders back to Drake’s soothing voice and melodic guitar playing. Not only does his voice leave such as an impression, the lyrics he sings always have a very nice message.

Take 'Hazey Jane I' for example, a song the seems like it’s about a woman so infatuated with a man that she passes by on so many other things in life she could be enjoying. But for some reason these songs never come off as being too depressing, unlike a lot of his other work. Again, this is probably contributed to the fact that the other instruments he experimented with on this album give it more of an upbeat feeling, no matter what the subject matter is.

However, these lyrics and messages are vital, mainly because one of the only let downs on the album (and it’s not really THAT big of a let down) is the title track, 'Bryter Layter'. This instrumental track, clocking in at 3 minutes and 22 seconds sounds slightly dated and sounds like a cheesy intermission tune. Compared to the brilliant songs before and after ('Hazey Jane I' and 'Fly' respectively) it comes of as being a little bit of a filler track, but its intended purpose was probably just for him to experiment on an instrumental song, and just try something out of the ordinary.

Even more out of the ordinary is the 6 minute song, 'Poor Boy'. Easily one of the most epic songs in all of Nick Drake’s relatively short career it truly is a masterpiece. Using choir vocals in the chorus, and his own voice during the verses. It also features such wonderful arrangements for saxophone, piano and guitar.

'Sunday' is really the perfect way to close out an album, a calm flute melody played over a brilliant sounding guitar and later on, an organ. It just puts the whole album in perspective, despite it not being as powerful as the other songs on the album.

Quick Recap:
Pros- Amazing orchestration, brilliant lyeics and he has such a wonderful voice.

Cons- The instrumental tracks are nothing really to get excited about, when I listen to this album I usually skip 'Bryter Layter' and rarely bother waiting through 'Sunday'


Highlight Songs-
'At The Chime Of A City Clock', 'Hazey Jane I' and 'Poor Boy'

Overall Rating- 4.5/5


user ratings (542)
Chart.
4.1
excellent
other reviews of this album
1 of
related reviews

Pink Moon

Five Leaves Left
recommended by reviewer
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Neoteric
July 2nd 2006



3243 Comments


Great first review!

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
July 2nd 2006



1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Yeah, it was kind of a shock to see this done by a 1st timer, but nice job. You did the album and Nick Drake justice.

This is my least favourite of the three Nick Drake albums and I disagree with the 'all 5's' notion, but beautiful album nevertheless.This Message Edited On 07.02.06

Scuba_Steve
July 2nd 2006



46 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks, I spent alot of time working on this one and I'm glad that I didn't do anything horribly wrong, haha.

Cygnus Inter Anates
July 2nd 2006



721 Comments


Hey there Frankenstein. Nice first review and all that.

Zebra
Moderator
July 2nd 2006



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Good work on the review, especially for a first.
This is my second favorite Drake album, it's much better then his debut yet inferior to Pink Moon. The 'Hazey Jane' songs and the title track are my favorites, this is such a neat album.

Morvit
July 18th 2006



71 Comments


i luv "sunday"....theres something about that song....

Sepstrup
August 6th 2006



1563 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I don't like Poor Boy much. The rest of the album is pretty fantastic though.

EDIT: The instrumental tracks are indespensible. If not for them this would definitely be at the bottom of his discrography
This Message Edited On 09.27.06

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
February 1st 2007



1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

After listening to this a fair bit lately, I'm bumping it up to a 4.5 and downgrading Pink Moon to 4.

Doppelganger
February 3rd 2007



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I have Pink Moon, and its easily the best album I've ever heard. I've only heard Northern Sky off this album, and I loved it.

Good review, by the way. Probably one of the best firsts I've seen.This Message Edited On 02.03.07

Doppelganger
February 3rd 2007



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yesss! Got it. Am I the only one who finds the introduction to be insanely beautiful?

Zebra
Moderator
February 3rd 2007



2647 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This whole album is insanely beautiful even though I still prefer Pink Moon.

Liberi Fatali
Emeritus
February 11th 2007



1588 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Introduction is quite nice, but in terms of intros on the album, it doesn't even begin to match the intro of Hazey Jane I.This Message Edited On 02.11.07

grungeguy88
February 27th 2007



788 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This album is just beautiful. I seriously need to get Pink Moon. I actually like "Sunday" the most I think. Great review though.

Doppelganger
March 3rd 2007



3124 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Hazy Jane II reminds me too much of a 70's sitcom theme. Other than that, this album still rules.

MrKite
March 3rd 2007



5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I need this really bad. Pink Moon blew me away and I yearn for more.

jrowa001
April 3rd 2007



8750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

for some reason when i heard this the production was really bad? did i just hear a bad version or is that how it sounds??

SlantedAndEnchanted
April 21st 2007



26 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

jrowa - you'd probably heard a bad version of this. the production on this album is kickin.
This album is great. The first time I heard Introduction, I had chills

MrKite
August 7th 2007



5020 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This is really good. Not one bad track on it.This Message Edited On 08.09.07

NeoOrder
October 18th 2008



25 Comments


I love this album. It's a bit less intense than Five Leaves Left, but the melodies are still great. Northern Sky, Fly and At the Chime of a City Clock are particularly good

ClearTheLane
October 18th 2008



990 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah this is definitely an exellent album, but his other two (especially FLL) are even better.



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